Less is more
Clothes, food, electronics. Things, gadgets, stuff. We shop more than ever and every year the market hits new records. But the fact is that our consumption is one of the biggest burdens on the environment.na.
One of the biggest behavior-changes we need to make is to lessen our consumption, said Maria Svanholm, head of the department of environmental analysis at the City of Stockholm´s Environment & Health Administration.
– We need to engage in more conscious consumption, both in regards to food, goods and living; and more than anything, we need to decrease the amount of what we consume.
Örjan Lönngren works as energy- and climate-advisor at the City of Stockholm´s Environment & Health Administration. He agrees that we generally buy too many things.
Instead of buying new things we need to get better at fixing and repairing the things we already have. This way we create more work for the service sector which is favorable for the economy.
– Above all, our perspective on how long to keep the things we buy is too short. If we instead get better at fixing and repairing the things we have, we create more work for the service sector which is favorable for the economy. Technical development is good, but sometimes we consumers hurry the speed of development too much. As consumers we have power to influence. Is it really reasonable that companies tempt us with a new telephone every year?
The end of fast fashion
80 percent of the environmental impact from the fashion industry comes from manufacturing. But that mostly takes place far away from the consumer. Örjan reflects:
– Maybe that is why we often focus on transports and plastic bags when instead we should challenge the fast production and mass-production within many industries.
Because who is really paying? Is it reasonable that a T-shirt costs less than a cafe latte?
We need to decrease consumption, measured not in money but in environmental impact.”
When sustainability, consumption, and economy is discussed, focus is sometimes placed on economic growth. Arne Jamtrot, head of department at Kemikaliecentrum, the department responsible for chemicals at the City of Stockholm´s Environment & Health Administration, points out that reduced consumption doesn´t necessarily mean reduced economic growth.
– We need to decrease consumption, measured not in money but in environmental impact. If I buy a bottle of organic wine that might cost 20 SEK more, my consumption increases. But my environmental impact decreases, which is a good thing!